Terrain shapes and bedrock
COUNTRYAAH, Egypt covers mainly the northeastern part of Africa and
is thus one of the continent's lowest lying areas. The
central region of Egypt is made up of the valley of the
Nile, while desert areas are spreading on either side. Only
the easternmost strip along the Red Sea and an area in the
southwest corner are highlands.
The Nile Valley is a marked lowering, only 8–16
km wide but 1,200 km long, which runs in a north-south
direction through the eastern part of the country parallel
to the Red Sea coast.
In its northernmost part the valley spreads out and is
filled by a delta that is about 160 km long and 240 km wide.
See further Nile.
The most extensive landform type in Egypt, the desert
plateau, is divided by the Nile Valley into two fairly
different regions, the Libyan (western) desert and
the eastern (Arabian) desert.. The Libyan Desert is
a sand and stone desert that is significantly larger than
the Arabian Desert. The largest oases are al-Fayyum, around
Lake Qarun in the northeast, and Siwa, near the Libyan
border. The deepest sink is the Qattara Basin, which reaches
133 m uh. The Eastern Desert is a rock and stone desert that
is pervaded by many wadis that arise in connection with the
occasional rains. Towards the Red Sea rise horrified rock
ridges formed by faults. The highest peak is Shayb al-Banat,
2,187 meters above sea level. Separated from Africa by the
Suez Bay and the Suez Canal, the triangular Sinai
Peninsula forms a transition to Asia. Especially the
southern part of the peninsula is markedly mountainous with
Catherine, 2,637 m above sea level, as the highest point in
Most of the bedrock in Egypt is made up of sandstones.
Nubian sandstone from the Cretaceous and Tertiary times.
However, the mountains along the Red Sea consist of
Precambrian, crystalline rocks and younger intrusive
granites. The Sinai Peninsula also has crystalline bedrock
in the south, while the northern part is sandstone from the
Practically all of Egypt is part of the tropical
desert climate belt, which includes North Africa and
the Arabian Peninsula. Only a small coastal area in the far
north deviates and has a Mediterranean climatewith
rain and slightly lower temperatures in winter. The country
as a whole is characterized by very little rainfall and
overcast. A striking daily and annual amplitude of the
temperature is typical. During the cooler of Egypt's two
seasons, which fall between November and March, the mean
daily and maximum temperatures of the day are 9 °C and 18 °C in the north and 12 °C and 23 °C, respectively. The
warmest season, May - September, is markedly hot and dry.
The average dinner temperature in June is 33 °C in Cairo
and 42 °C in Assuan. During April and May, a dry, hot and
dusty wind, scirocco (chamsin), can blow from the south or
More regular rain falls on the Mediterranean coast, where
Alexandria receives 178 mm per year, while Cairo has 25 mm
and Assuan 3 mm per year, ie. rain a few years. The coastal
area of the Red Sea and the Libyan Desert is practically
rain-free, while the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula
receives 125 mm per year.
Egypt is for the most part covered by desert with very
sparse vegetation. Only the narrow Nile valley and its delta
in the north houses lush vegetation, but this is now
completely culturally characterized; practically all of this
area is cultivated and without natural vegetation. Along the
river have been planted alien trees, such as eucalyptus and
Even in the Middle Ages, there were some natural forests
in the Nile Valley as well as in the surrounding desert
valleys. In northern Sinai, the cypress- like juniper
Juniʹperus phoeniʹcea was probably forest-forming.
Egypt's most common palm is date palm, which has been
planted in oases and wadis but is never wild; dates are an
important part of the Bedouin diet. However, there are two
native palm trees, doum palm, which is relatively common in
Upper Egypt both in oases and around the Nile, and argon
palm (Medeʹmia aʹrgun), which was grown on a large
scale during the Pharaonic period but which is now only
found in an oasis southwest of Assuan.. Papyrus, which was
so important to papermaking in Pharaonic Egypt, also belong
to the almost lost species. Today, the species remains in a
single lake in northern Egypt.
The desert west of the Nile (Libyan Desert) is
practically vegetation-free, much like at oases where,
besides planted date palms, a lush vegetation sometimes
exists. In the Eastern Desert (Arabian Desert), which lies
east of the Nile, and in Sinai, where there is more regular
rainfall, there are, however, a lot of bushes and small
trees of, for example, tamarisk, acacias and marekh trees.
In a narrow strip closest to the Mediterranean, the
vegetation is steep. There is also a large seed bank in the
desert soils, and after a rain, a magnificent flora of
annuals quickly emerges.
Bird life is rich, especially in winter when many
northern birds winter and during the fall and spring when
the country is passed by large numbers of migrating birds on
their way to and from tropical Africa. Among the latter are
especially notable birds of prey and storks.
Larches, rock washes and flying chickens dominate the
breeding birds in the desert areas. Slaughter falcon is
common in the Arabian desert. Along the Nile you can see
brownish, black-winged happy, palm pigeon and turtle.
African ostrich was previously widespread but is now only
found in the country's southeastern corner.
The mammalian fauna is depleted. Lions, hippos and
giraffes have completely disappeared. Nubian Capricorn (Caʹpra
iʹbex nubiaʹna) and Dorcas gazelle are now
very few. There are several predator species that feed on
i.a. numerous rodents; These include red fox, sand fox,
fennel, jackal, North African bandillas (Poeciliʹctis
liʹbyca), dangerous, streaky hyena, leopard (on the
Sinai peninsula), African wild cat (Feʹlis lyʹbica)
and jungle cat (Felis chaus).
Among the reptiles are the Nile and the Nile Crocodile,
the latter now only above the Assuan Dam. In the deserts,
black beetles and scorpions belong to the common small
creeps. The sacred scarab of Egyptians, a pillar trailer
(beetle) that rolls balls of manure, is also still a common
sight. Along the coast towards the Red Sea there are
well-developed coral reefs with a very rich marine fauna.
In 2010, Egypt had three national parks, Ras Muhammad,
Elba and Wadi El Gemal – Hamata. Egypt has signed several
important nature conservation conventions.